All workers will be allowed back onto construction sites throughout Victoria from Thursday as the state lifts most of its five-day ‘circuit breaker’ COVID sanctions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that the five-day lockdown will end on Wednesday night after the state recorded no new COVID cases.

Restrictions will largely revert to settings which were in place immediately prior to the lockdown.

From midnight Wednesday:

  • The property and construction industry can return to work at full capacity – all construction workers can return to site
  • Office workers can return to 50 percent capacity (both public and private sector)
  • The four reasons to leave home and 5 km rules will no longer apply
  • Retail, hospitality, schools, community facilities and entertainment venues will be able to re-open
  • Masks must continue to be worn in all indoor settings except the home (including the office), and in outside settings where you cannot physically distance from others; and
  • Private gatherings within the home will be limited to no more than five visitors per day and public gatherings with friends and family will be limited to 20 people, until Friday 26 February

The five-day lockdown came as Victoria attempted to contain the Holiday Inn COVID-cluster.

In terms of construction, it saw an almost complete shut-down except for work related to emergency repairs or the continued operation of critical infrastructure.

In a statement, Andrews said the easing came after identification and isolation of more than 3,400 close contacts, 212,000 tests and the sending of 850,000 text messages into communities.

“Today is good news,” he said.

“Because of the efforts of every Victorian – the sacrifices and the hard slog – we can be confident that slowly, and surely, we are driving the virus into the ground.

“It hasn’t been easy or straightforward. In fact, for those Victorians who are part of our health response, it’s been bloody hard work.

“I want to thank those Victorians who’ve made it possible – and I want to thank every Victorian for their patience.”

Master Builders Victoria chief executive officer Rebecca Casson welcomed the news but stressed that the state’s construction sector should not be shut down again.

Casson added that entire state-wide shutdowns should not be necessary.

Shutting down the industry in Mildura in the north-east, for example, should not need to happen when the closest COVID case is more than 500 kilometres away.

“We are pleased that our industry will be back working from tomorrow,” Casson said.

“Our sector’s safety record was proven throughout 2020 and this is something we will continue.

“If everyone maintains this safety record, we cannot see any reason why our sector should be locked down again.”